(1) The department shall establish an oversight committee composed of staff from the office of the superintendent of public instruction, the student achievement council, foster youth, former foster youth, foster parents, and advocacy agencies to develop strategies for maintaining foster children in the schools they were attending at the time they entered foster care and to promote opportunities for foster youth to participate in postsecondary education or training.
(2) The duties of the oversight committee shall include, but are not limited to:
(a) Developing strategies for school-based recruitment of foster homes;
(b) Monitoring the progress of current pilot projects that assist foster children to continue attending the schools they were attending at the time they entered foster care;
(c) Overseeing the expansion of the number of pilot projects;
(d) Promoting the use of best practices, throughout the state, demonstrated by the pilot projects and other programs relating to maintaining foster children in the schools they were attending at the time they entered foster care;
(e) Informing the legislature of the status of efforts to maintain foster children in the schools they were attending at the time they entered foster care;
(f) Assessing the scope and nature of statewide need among current and former foster youth for assistance to pursue and participate in postsecondary education or training opportunities;
(g) Identifying available sources of funding available in the state for services to former foster youth to pursue and participate in postsecondary education or training opportunities;
(h) Reviewing the effectiveness of activities in the state to support former foster youth to pursue and participate in postsecondary education or training opportunities;
(i) Identifying new activities, or existing activities that should be modified or expanded, to best meet statewide needs; and
(j) Reviewing on an ongoing basis the progress toward improving educational and vocational outcomes for foster youth.
Findings—Intent—2005 c 93: "(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) The majority of foster youth fail to thrive in our educational system and, relative to nonfoster youth, disproportionately few enroll in college or other postsecondary training programs. As a result, former foster youth generally have poor employment and life satisfaction outcomes; and
(b) Low expectations, lack of information, fragmented support services, and financial hardship are the most frequently cited reasons for failure of foster youth to pursue postsecondary education or training. Initiatives have been undertaken at both the state and community levels in Washington to improve outcomes for foster youth in transition to independence; however, these initiatives are often not coordinated to complement one another.
(2) The legislature intends to encourage and support foster youth to pursue postsecondary education or training opportunities. A coordination committee that provides statewide planning and oversight of related efforts will improve the effectiveness of both current and future initiatives to improve postsecondary educational outcomes for foster youth. In addition, the state can provide financial support to former foster youth pursuing higher education or training by setting aside portions of the state need grant and the state work-study programs specifically for foster youth." [ 2005 c 93 § 1